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Products found to contain undeclared medicines

Public urged not to buy or use slimming products with banned drug ingredients
The Department of Health (DH) today (March 13) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume a slimming product named "Li Da Dai Dai Hua Jiao Nang" as it may contain undeclared and banned drug ingredients that are dangerous to health.

The appeal followed the DH's receipt of notification from the Hospital Authority (HA) about a 23-year-old female patient who had a history of consuming the above slimming product. The DH commenced investigation immediately.

"The patient attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Prince of Wales Hospital on February 23 for psychiatric symptoms of auditory hallucination and delusion. She was transferred to Tai Po Hospital for further treatment the next day (February 24). She described a history of consumption of the above slimming product and sibutramine metabolites and phenolphthalein metabolites were detected in her urine sample. Thus, a drug-related adverse effect was suspected clinically," a DH spokesman said.

"The HA's laboratory test on the product sample showed the presence of two undeclared and banned Western medicines, namely sibutramine and phenolphthalein. Investigations revealed that the patient purchased the product from the Internet. She was discharged from hospital on March 11 after treatment. The DH's investigation continues," the spokesman added.

"Sibutramine is a Part I poison and was once a Western medicine used as an appetite suppressant. Since November 2010, products containing sibutramine have been banned because of an increased cardiovascular risk. Phenolphthalein was once used for treating constipation but has been banned for its possible cancer-causing effect," the spokesman explained.

The spokesman urged members of the public who have purchased the above product to stop using it immediately. In addition, they are advised not to buy or consume products of unknown composition or from doubtful sources. People who are feeling unwell or in doubt after using the product should consult health-care professionals. They can submit the product to the Drug Office of the DH at Room 1856, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, during office hours for disposal.

"Weight control should be achieved through a balanced diet and appropriate exercises. The public should consult health-care professionals before using any medication for weight control," the spokesman remarked.

Ends/Wednesday, March 13, 2013